THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Monday, March 24, 2014

THE VERY BEST BOOK ABOUT JESUS CHRIST* (Or, THE SECOND BEST BOOK ABOUT JESUS CHRIST)


*other than ‘The Holy Bible’
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Ladies love outlaws
Like babies love stray dogs
Ladies touch babies like a banker touches gold
Outlaws touch ladies somewhere deep down in their soul
~ Waylon Jennings
'Ladies Love Outlaws'

On April 6, 1994, I had a Spiritual experience in which Christ Yeshua (Jesus Christ) baptized me with the Holy Spirit. It left me in tears, and was utterly unexpected, although it had been preceded by other mystical experiences.

A deep conversion is usually “baptized” in tears.
~ Alice von Hildebrand
‘The Privilege Of Being A Woman’

I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I ... He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
~ John the Baptist
Matthew 3:11

From that time on, I began reading and taking very seriously "God's Word", or The Holy Bible. I have since read the entire Book – Genesis 1 through Revelation 22 - nineteen or twenty times. Some portions of it I have read more times than that (e.g., the four Gospels, Revelation, and Job). While I certainly don't qualify as an expert on The Bible, it's one of the subjects I am most informed about, and the fact that the Holy Spirit guided my Scripture studies gave me insight that I'd not have acquired otherwise. As a result, and because of some personal encounters with Jesus, I had formed an idea about Him and His personality that I was not aware of anyone else holding. But I've learned that I was not alone in the way I perceived my Holy King and Savior.

One night in the middle of last December, I went into the book & DVD library where I work and sat down and opened whatever book I was reading at that time. Then I happened to glance to my left and sitting on the shelf labeled ‘Religion’ was a book titled ‘BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW’. I thought that was an odd title for a book supposedly about religion, so out of curiosity I pulled it from the shelf. It was published in 2011 by someone named John Eldredge, and it was subtitled ‘Experiencing The Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality Of Jesus’.

I opened the book at random to somewhere near the middle and read about two pages. I put the book back on the shelf, having made up my mind that ‘BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW’ was going to be the very next book I read.

Back Cover Blurb (hardcover)...
“He was accused of nearly everything – breaking the law, keeping bad company, heavy drinking, and being the devil himself. He was so compelling and dangerous they had to kill him.

“But those who knew him best loved him passionately. He had a sense of humor. His generosity was scandalous. His anger made enemies tremble. He would say the most outrageous things. And this Jesus has not changed one bit; he is still himself, available to all who would know him.”

Back Cover Blurb (paperback)...
“Reading the Gospels without knowing the personality of Jesus is like watching television with the sound turned off. The effect is a dry, two-dimensional person saying strange, undecipherable things. But when we discover his true character – this man who made the wind, music, and flying squirrels – suddenly all of the remarkable qualities of Jesus burst forth with color and brilliance like fireworks.”

I read the library’s copy of ‘Beautiful Outlaw’. Afterwards, I immediately purchased a copy for myself and read it a second time. Then I began buying copies and sending them to particular friends I thought would especially enjoy it and/or gain something new from it.

I think it’s the very best book about Jesus I’ve ever read, aside from The Bible. It may also be one of my Top Ten favorite books of all time.

As some of my friends began reading the book, I started getting feedback from them and we had interesting discussions via Email. Below are some of those exchanges, which these friends granted me permission to share publicly with you.

First, we’ll hear from FAE of the blog ‘Far Away Series’. She’s in blue, I’m in classic black:
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STMcC: At first – like, the first 3 or 4 chapters – I was thinking: This guy is writing about the Jesus I know – the REAL Jesus! I want to send this to FAE, because I think this is the Jesus she knows too!

But I wanted to wait to see if the book would continue to be as good as it started out. Well, I’m almost finished with it now, and it has NOT remained as good as it started out. In fact, it has only gotten better, and Better, and BETTER!

FAE: Just so you know, today was wash my hair day after swimming, so even though the temperatures are in the fifties here, I had a big knitted cap pulled on over my wet hair; I sat down without even taking the cap off and thought I'll just peruse the chapter titles. Fifty-seven pages later, I realized that I still had that hat on and my now almost dry hair was going to be a mess. Reluctantly, I put the book down and decided I should do something about my hair and make some lunch (it's now almost 2 PM). YES, it's that good!

STMcC: Well, one “bad hair day” is a small enough price to pay for reading such a wonderful book about our Savior, eh?

FAE: In only fifty-seven pages this author explains so much that has, in a way, troubled me for a lot of years. What I felt troubled about in the past was the fact that THIS IS the Jesus that I know, but not what religion teaches, so I always thought it was just my rebellious soul that thought of Him this way, and spoke to Him as though He were a real person (not to mention the times I've argued with Him and His Father). I'm not going to yak on for long here, because I still haven't made lunch, and I want to get back to the book.

STMcC: There are some viewpoints in ‘BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW’ that I don’t concur with. Two of the bigger ones being the fact that, as John Eldredge states on page 46, he “clings to the Nicene Creed and the orthodox faith”. As you know, I am decidedly NOT a Trinitarian ...However, I do believe that in some unfathomable way, the Father brought all of His creation through Christ, so in a way it’s true that some of what we see in nature contains attributes of Christ’s personality.

There were a couple statements (one in particular to the max!) early on in the book that made me sit up and take notice, thinking: Hokey-Smoke! Those are little secrets between Jesus and me! How does John know about them?

Mostly, for me, it was just being blown away to discover that John knows the same Jesus I do, and to have my faith fired up again by this guy who, in my opinion, is one tremendously talented writer. I love ‘BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW’, the book and the Man!

I was practically cheering when I read what John had to say about Christ’s appearance to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (pages 26-29). I was thinking: Finally! Someone else gets it and realizes that Jesus was playing a game with His friends, He was having some fun on that glorious day. And then at the apex of the fun – “See ya. Poof!”... gone. And they immediately go running back from where they just came to spread the Good News.

Also, page 25... I loved the fact that John highlighted that little miraculous event with Nathanael, because I distinctly recall many, many years ago reading that passage to my Ma and telling her how humorous I found it. In reading it, I could even hear the tone of voice Jesus used, see the twinkle in his eyes and the slight grin as He said... “Oh [pause]... you’ll see greater things than that.” (Wow! I just now noticed for the first time, glancing at page 25, that even John Eldredge put the pause in there! Hoo-Wee! Yep, we knows the same Jesus we does!)

FAE: I finished. It was wonderful. ... I just wanted you to know I LOVED IT!

I admit I did drive about 50 MPH through Prague (I read it in about 48 hours), but I got so much. I want to let it percolate down for a few days, and then read it again, slowly, fully digesting each chapter, enjoying the banquet that it is. A thousand thank yous for introducing this to me.

I loved it presumably as much as you did. I agree 100% that John Eldredge is a wonderful writer. I found myself smiling through the entire reading. At times I was actually laughing out loud, at times crying. I would read some and think I know that guy, and at other places I would think I am that guy.

But, throughout it was obvious that John Eldredge was talking about the Jesus that I know and love. ... I couldn't agree more about the 'fog of religion’.

I loved the chapter about Humility. I of course, did not think that Jesus was born with the vocabulary of Dictionary.com but I never really thought a whole lot about Him as an infant (outside of the manger) or as a toddler, or small child learning to tie a bow and so on. If I had entertained these thoughts, I'm not sure I would have thought of this time as an act of humility on His part, but of course, I can now see that clearly.

Two of the chapters near the end ‘Letting Jesus Be Himself - With You' and 'Letting His Life Fill Yours', really touched me and also made me recommit to doing everything I can to draw closer to the Jesus I know and love.

Thank you so much for thinking of me when reading this book and thank you again and again for sending me this copy. It is a most wonderful gift.

And now here are some Email exchanges between Bryan Pedus of the blog ‘A Beer For The Shower’ and myself. Bryan is in red, I am (still) in boring classic black:
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BRYAN: It's not often that I'm this eager to read a book, and it's also not this often that the back cover description of a book 'snags' me like this...

I've only started ‘Beautiful Outlaw’ but I'm already enjoying it. ... I've never once believed that being a follower and believer in Christ means that you have to sacrifice your personality and become some bland, milquetoast Ned Flanders who can't laugh or have fun.

In Catholic mass, local kids would stand up to the podium and read excerpts from the New Testament in between songs. This would lead up to the priest's sermon. Anyhow, I knew all of those kids, and I knew how much they absolutely couldn't stand doing it. And I couldn't stand listening to it. Because the kids were instructed, on purpose, to be very monotone and, as the church leaders called it, "respectful." So when you're sitting there, especially as an 8-10 year old kid who's already very confused about the world, and another kid is reading this very monotone, literal translation of the Savior's acts, he... well, he sounds like kind of a weirdo, right? And then of course I felt blasphemous for even thinking that, but when taken with utmost seriousness, a lot of it sounds very bizarre.

And I always felt stupid, like I just didn't "get it." So now I wonder, the people who are so serious, do they really think they "get it"? Or are they just going through the motions because they've been taught to digest these words in a particular way?

STMcC: Well, I think Eldredge nails it when he points out that some people in the mainstream Christian churches – INCLUDING the pastors or ministers – DO NOT have a personal relationship with Jesus. They use that expression a lot, “personal relationship”, but I suspect most of them don’t have one.

I mean, if even the minister knows nothing more about Jesus than what he’s read in his Bible – if he’s never once seen Jesus, in a dream or otherwise, or even heard Christ speak to him in his mind, or felt Christ’s inspiration in a very undeniable way – what makes him think he’s qualified to teach others how to “come to Christ”?

BRYAN: Next: The Savior constantly fighting against the religious authority. I never really knew about this, but I can really appreciate it. He's coming in to clean house, and showing (which I've always believed) that it's not the religion that is bad, but the people who can often bungle things up. Particularly in that wonderful story where he's healing someone who's been incredibly sick for 18 years and performing this miracle on the Sabbath, and the religious officials are waiting with baited breath for him to break this silly rule so that they can persecute him. And he asks, really, which do you think is more important? Abiding by this one rule or helping someone who's been suffering almost their whole life?

STMcC: Yeah, exactly. I totally get what Eldredge is saying about Jesus being in opposition to the “religious authorities” of His day, and he’s entirely right about it! Those guys didn’t even realize (though they should have) that the PERSON their (“Old Testament”) Scriptures pointed to was the very Man standing in front of them healing the sick, casting out demons, reviving the dead, etc.

BRYAN: I've always been a bit of a rule breaker, in the name of the greater good, and my former pastor couldn't stand this. He, of course, was of the mind "we must always follow the rules, no matter who sets them, to show respect for authority. The Savior would want that." And now that I'm reading this, I have to tell you, I feel a lot more at ease that being myself is a lot more akin to the Savior than is being some rule following robot.

STMcC: Oh, you nonconformist rebel types! When will you ever learn that the mainstream view of EVERYTHING is usually the correct one? C’mon, 6-B, do like I have and join the “In Crowd”. [:-)}
Just think of the tattoos and body-piercings you can have!

Have you gotten to the story about Jesus wearing a pirate hat yet? If not, you will. It sounds utterly ridiculous and I'm sure most of the priests you've known would call it totally un-Jesus-like and thus probably a demonic deception. But that's actually the Jesus I've seen as well.

Are you aware that a huge number of Divine visions described in The Bible took place in dreams? Most were not "open visions" where the person is consciously awake. God tells us in The Bible that He uses dreams to communicate with us, and you can usually tell which ones were "dream-visions" and not just "late night pizza visions" (or what I call "night doodles") by how vivid they are and how they stick with you for years afterward.

Many years ago, I met Jesus in a dream. We were on the Palisades Park bluffs in Santa Monica and Jesus was tending to two little Asian children - I thought most likely they were Cambodian. Jesus didn't say anything to me but He knew I was there, following Him around, watching Him, sticking close by, and He was perfectly fine with that. I'm sure He was there for me as much as for the Cambodian children, after all it was MY dream-vision.

But here's the thing: No pirate hat on Jesus. But I knew with absolute certainty that He was Jesus... despite the fact that He had short hair, no beard (“Jesus shaves!”), and was wearing a short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt and khaki pants!

So when I read something about a pirate hat, I don't become immediately skeptical. Instead, I think: Why not? He's fun, He has a sense of humor, and He's probably sick and tired of being portrayed as eternally ultra-serious and in the same long, white robe (with or without a lamb slung over His shoulder).

BRYAN: I just want to say that if anything, this book has made me feel better about not having a good relationship with the Savior. I've had my personal experiences, as I've mentioned to you before, more in the general sense of God, but I've never had a personal experience with the Savior himself. And I believe now that that's because I've been told to look for the wrong person. That pale, gaunt, dour looking guy who's super serious and has no sense of humor. ... No wonder I never found him. He doesn't exist.

STMcC: Oh, yeah, I know who you mean: the Southern California dude with long hair and a lamb slung over his shoulder.
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HONKY  JESUS
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JIM  MORRISON  AS  JESUS
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VAL  KILMER  AS  JIM  MORRISON  AS  JESUS
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RAINBOWS  AND  UNICORNS  JESUS
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STMcC: Ha! I just had a funny thought... I’d like to see someone do a painting of Jesus wearing a Quiksilver bathing suit, riding a wave on a surfboard with a lamb slung over his shoulder. (All those paintings of Jesus always make him look so... Caucasian and surfer-ish. They bug me. How come no one ever painted Him in a pirate hat or Hawaiian shirt?)

BRYAN: I'll make you a deal. I will happily draw this picture for you if you use it in your review of John Eldredge's book for your blog bit. I think it would add a nice bit of satire to the post about how much of a blonde surfer dude Jesus looks like in all of these modern, Americanized pictures of him. How's that sound?

STMcC: 6-B, that deal is... SOOOO ON!!!
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'JESUS  CHRIST  SURFERSTAR',  illustration  by  Bryan  Pedus  of  the  blog  'A  Beer  For  The Shower'  (http://www.abeerfortheshower.com/)
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STMcC: My immediate thought was: Where’s His surfboard? And of course that thought was immediately followed, about one second later, with the obvious: Well, this Guy could walk on water, so why would He possibly need a board to surf it?
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Very clever, my friend! I hadn’t even entertained that idea, but it’s great.
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BRYAN: Ha! I was hoping you would notice and appreciate that little gem. I actually started drawing Him with a surfboard until I realized, "Wait, Jesus can walk on water. Wouldn't it be funnier, then, if He was just plain surfing on the water?" So I'm glad you caught that!

I always felt stupid, like I just didn't "get it." So now I wonder, the people who are so serious, do they really think they "get it"? Or are they just going through the motions because they've been taught to digest these words in a particular way?

Having learnt more about the real Jesus over the past couple of weeks, I'd like to think that as Jesus has always tried to relate to us that it would almost seem silly of him to appear to us as a bearded, long haired, robe wearing caricature with the lamb slung over his shoulder, rather than someone we might know and associate with today. And really, it's funny to think that to some that might be blasphemous, but really, how "bad" is having short hair, shaving, and wearing comfortable modern clothes?

STMcC: I can tell you that the Jesus I know has a DEFINITE personality which includes a sense of humor, an appreciation for amusing practical jokes, and He has an inventive, creative capacity that is simply off-the-charts.

BRYAN: I know the latter part of the book is about how to develop a relationship with the real Savior, and I'm looking forward to that. I think I need a lot more of that in my life.

STMcC: If you want to find Him, you will. He’s always knocking. We just gotta open the door and say, “Come on in.”

BRYAN: I'm not ashamed to be reading the book, I'm not ashamed to realize that I didn't know squat about the real Christ until now, and I'm not ashamed to say that I need to improve my re(a)lationship with Jesus. But that's why we've got more than a few years to kick around this ol' planet of ours, right?

It's just sad that fewer people will know the fun, funny, truly lovable Jesus that I myself am only starting to know. But at least I can say that about myself, that I'm starting to know Him. So in the end I really enjoyed the book, and I'm a better person for having read it. I can't say many books have affected me like that.

Mostly because of what I mentioned before, in particular, about Christ - the extremely serious overtones that result in him acting 'bizarre'. Now that I find myself starting to understand not just the stories but Him, I think I may read through my Bible after I'm done with this book. A book so good it made me want to pick up my dusty old Bible again - that surely should tell you something.

And finally, let’s hear from my buddy Br’er Marc of the blog ‘The Bible Corner’. I will put Br’er in purple because he’s like royalty in my pantheon of friends.
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MARC: Stephen,
I'm on page 155. Thank you!!! One of the best biblical books I've put my hands on. And couldn't have come at a better time. Love you.

Reading the book. Almost done. Thinking back at my time in ‘T__ W__’. I remember Rev. __________  talking about Jesus saying to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan!" That he was yelling at him, giving it to him. That Peter was close to being possessed. He twisted verses like that to justify his abuse of others.

But he also helped paint a very different picture of our Lord in my mind. A cruel, angry, and vicious Jesus. Which made verses like “I never knew you”, “weeping and gnashing of teeth” take on meanings they had never had previously.

It’s helping me realize that the love I had, and haven't felt for awhile, started to disappear during this time. When I replaced the real Jesus with C____ M_________’s version of Jesus.

Our tithes were counted, you were “mark and avoid” if you had debt; you had to go to 'fellowship' three times a week. You weren't spiritual enough if you were three minutes early, you needed to be ten minutes early. I was actually followed out to my car, and told I couldn't be in the ministry band because I wasn't early enough one day to fellowship.

An old ministry friend came to work a few months ago, talking about how this other ministry couple is full of devil spirits. That so-and-so is now “mark and avoid”. “Avoid”, I like that last word. Been doing that with ‘T__ W__’ since 2005. Still friends with some of them, no ill will. Just couldn't buy into their theology and RELIGIOUSNESS.

Thanks again,
-- Br'er Marc

P.S. - Hope you’re not expecting (the book) back, ‘cause it ain't gonna happen.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

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29 comments:

  1. Just read this and it is 'Beautiful'. I hope and pray it gets lots of exposure. I must run out the door about 15 minutes ago, but I'll be back with a 'real' comment later on today. Thanks for shining some more light on this little gem of a book.

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    1. FAE ~
      I literally couldn't have done it without you and a couple others like you. (I appreciate that you and the others gave me permission to publicly publish your private Emails to me.)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  2. OK, so now I'm really late; just couldn't help myself. @ Bryan - I love the drawing. Particularly love the fact that there is no surfboard. Great job! Although I was hoping for a Hawaiian shirt with big hibiscus.

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    1. >>... Although I was hoping for a Hawaiian shirt with big hibiscus.

      Don't worry, FAE, I've got that covered! I own 4 Hawaiian shirts (didn't own a single one before Jesus appeared to me in a dream wearing one), and one of those shirts has "big hibiscus" in the foreground, a bright green in the background.

      You been sneaking in my closet? I want my Speedos back! I'm tired of swimming in my boxer shorts. [:-)}

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underpants'

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  3. I took a break to see if you got my comments and saw this. YIKES! I just flashed on an image of you in one of those tiny racing speedos. Now I need another cup of coffe, or shot of tequila, or something.

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    1. I have always hated Speedos
      because they reveal...
      so little.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    2. Now for my ‘REAL’ comment. I apologize for taking so long to get back here, Monday simply exploded all around me, and yesterday was ‘recovery’ day.

      First, I want to thank you for publishing your review of this marvelous book. I really do wish that everyone would read it. I hope that your followers who have stated that it is included on their TBR list, really do follow through.

      Second, I want to say how honored I am that you chose to include my comments regarding ‘Beautiful Outlaw’, in your post. I hope that nothing I’ve said would cause anyone confusion, but only encourage them to find for themselves this ‘Beautiful Outlaw’.

      For most of my life my prayers have been conversations with my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, carried on in much the same way I would converse with you or anybody else. I’ve argued with them. I’ve expressed my disappointment with conditions in my life and the actions of others. I’ve acted like a ‘spoiled brat’ at times and I’m sorry to admit, even been ungrateful. Throughout all of this I’ve felt their patience and love, but I’ve seen the same personality in Jesus that John Eldredge describes. For many years I thought I was the ‘odd ball’. I’ll admit I’m odd, but what a relief it was to read that someone else knew our Savior as a multi-dimensional personality who might love us unconditionally, but who can also laugh and cry along with our tests and trials. Sure He knows the final outcome, but He also feels our joy and pain as we experience them.
      I love this book and its confirmation that Jesus Christ is real and the personality I have come to know. Like you I don’t share all of Mr. Eldredge’s religious concepts, but when it comes to his interpretation of the true personality of Jesus, he and I are pretty much on the same page.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that most people are perfectly happy with the one dimensional character portrayed in most religions of Jesus Christ. It appears that if they were to come to close to truly developing a personal relationship with His true character, they might be compelled to live more in line with his teachings.

      Apparently, they don’t think they are ready for that.

      I do have faith that once introduced to Jesus Christ the multi-dimensional personality, who is waiting to embrace each and every one of us as his brothers and sisters, there will be no turning back. If anyone has any doubt, I encourage them to read through this book and put it to the test through prayer and study; that they might find for themselves the ‘Beautiful Outlaw’ that is our Savior Jesus Christ.

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    3. GREAT comment, FAE!

      And, no, it is I who is thankful that you and the others granted me permission to publish your private correspondence with me.

      To me, that's what MADE this review something special. I could have yakked on and on about MY opinion of the book, but that's just one person's belief. But when the reader can see how profoundly OTHERS were likewise impressed by this book, and see that being expressed privately, when no one is trying to use fancy words, or trying to be really clever in order to 'wow' peeps in the general public, then it becomes something unique and obviously heartfelt.

      If not for you, Bryan, and Marc, this would have just been another review written by me - one of the many (that usually go somewhat ignored). I think (and hope) the "conversational" approach I applied to this review will garner it more attention than it might have otherwise.

      So, again, my thanks to you and to the others.

      I KNOW you have a "re(a)lationship" with God and His Son. I was already well aware of that prior to reading 'Beautiful Outlaw' the first time, and that's why I thought to send a copy to you (and even sent it EARLY, because I couldn't wait until your birthday).

      I knew that the Jesus whom John Eldredge was talking about was the same Person I had met and had encounters with. That Personality... it's so real and it's so different from what so many of those "religious" folks think it is. So, I wanted to find out if the Jesus you knew seemed the same also. Because I was pretty sure He would, as I was certain that you REALLY knew Him.

      Thanks again for the permission and the excellent comment here.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  4. What a fantastic post! Really. And I LOVE the drawing of Jesus as a surfer dude. Absolutely perfect.

    Yes, this book is now officially on my TBR list. Thank you.

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    1. Hi, SUSAN!
      Thanks! Glad you liked it. I just now woke up from last night's "graveyard" shi(f)t, but this morning, I left a comment on 6-B's 'A Beer For The Shower' blog telling him I was about to post this and it was already one of my favorite F-FFF blog bits even though it hadn't been posted yet.

      Do you remember me saying in one of your Comment Sections that I was preparing to write a review of one of my all-time favorite books (which I'd only recently discovered)? I said it might make my Top Ten list, and you said something about feeling bad for whatever book just got dumped from that list. Well, this "ARRrrr" it. (Trying to do my best Jesus pirate there.)

      It took me awhile to get around to it, but I finally did. Everything always takes longer than I think it will.

      I predict you will love this book. I ain't a prophet. If I were a prophet, I would know for certain, one way or the other, whether or not you will love this book. But I'm "predicting" it, like the way I predict the numbers of the lottery. ...Oh, shit! I gotta get to work!...

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    2. POSTSCRIPT: Susan, while you're at it, you might want to also add the book 'The Privilege Of Being A Woman' by Alice von Hildebrand to your TBR list also. She's coming from a Catholic point of view, but that don't matter.

      I read that book years ago and absolutely loved it. (And I assure you I ain't no woman, despite the rumors you've heard.)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. Gotcha! The TBR list just got a little longer.

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    4. It's an extremely small book - almost close to being a pamphlet - but it is packed with tremendous Spiritual insight.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  5. You have a book and CD library where you work?!

    This is quite a post of testimonials and endorsements. Out of curiosity I went over to check the reviews at the site of your favorite booksellers and found the reviews there to be overwhelmingly on the 5 star side so you all are not alone in your regard for this book.

    I've never heard of it, but I don't go to christian bookstores or any bookstores anymore so I don't know much about what kinds of books are out there. This does sound good though.

    I always grew up with that stodgy view of the Bible and Jesus. I like the way FAE put it about the people reading in monotone. Yes, exactly. Then I started seeing this humorous side and Jesus the rebel. Overturning the tables of the moneychangers was not just an action but a metaphor of what Jesus was doing.

    There are so many funny things that Jesus says that are so often delivered in the serious monotone of little imagination. One of my favorites is when he's talking about paying taxes saying that since the money had Caesar's picture on it that it must be his and people need to give it back to him. I always picture a Jesus giving a very irreverent comedic delivery to this and it makes me smile. So many great episodes like this can be found in the Bible.

    Thanks for referring another interesting book to your readers.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. >>... You have a book and CD library where you work?!

      Yeah. You wanna trade places? I'll take your wife off your hands and retire from the workplace and you can have my job, the days, the hours, and the book and DVD library. (It'll be quite a hardship for me to leave lovely Phoenix, Airheadzona, for California, but I'll go through with that for the sake of a friend.)

      >>... This is quite a post of testimonials and endorsements.

      A few days ago I Emailed Beer Boy Bryan and told him I was about to post this review. And I said that the feature that most appealed to me was the 'Dialogue format' of it.

      It's one thing if it's just me yakking about how much I loved this book, but the value of that is determined by how much a reader trusts my judgment and is willing to listen to a loudmouth like me. But when I have a few other real people engaged in a discussion with me and we are ALL very much fans of the book, it suddenly takes on a stronger, more objective-like tone.

      >>... Then I started seeing this humorous side and Jesus the rebel.

      They "...strain out gnats and swallow camels". I thought that was funny the very first time I read it. And after awhile I started wondering what was wrong with much of the mainstream "Christian" community. Couldn't they see what this Guy was doing? Couldn't they hear the humor that was often in His voice? Didn't they see that He was having fun at times with His friends, playing little practical jokes on them?

      >>... Overturning the tables of the moneychangers was not just an action but a metaphor of what Jesus was doing.

      Yeah, He was overturning more than just tables, wasn't He?

      Thanks for the nice comment, Boidman!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  6. I keep a running list of books that I want to check out of the library. I just added Beautiful Outlaw to it. Thank you for sharing the email exchanges about this book. When you read something and it causes a shift inside of you... well, that indicates you have read something beyond wonderful. Beyond amazing.

    And I know just what you mean about those dream-visions. I've had several with loved ones who have passed versus just dreaming about loved ones who've died. I know those conversations were as real as any I had when I was awake. And once I KNOW that God was talking directly to me. And that altered me forever.

    I went through a long period of time when I stopped going to church because the Jesus that they talked about there and the Jesus that I was sure existed seemed just too far apart. I didn't know how to bridge that gap. I suspect that John Eldredge thinks about Jesus very much like I do. Again... thanks for sharing this book!

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    1. ROBIN ~

      >>... And I know just what you mean about those dream-visions. I've had several with loved ones who have passed versus just dreaming about loved ones who've died. I know those conversations were as real as any I had when I was awake.

      I know exactly what you're talking about. My Pa passed away in 1996 but he has been in touch with me MANY times since then. Sometimes in dreams, and other times through music he loved.

      Some of my family members were a bit skeptical, wondering why he had not contacted them if he was contacting me so often. Then one Christmas Day I told my Brother that our Pa was going to contact us before we got home from our hour-long drive. As Maxwell Smart would say... "Missed it by THAT much!" He actually contacted my Brother via a crossword puzzle in the newspaper about 3 minutes after we arrived home.

      But that still left my Ma, wanting like crazy to believe but probably a bit skeptical. Then one day he got her too, while we were having lunch together in a Denny's restaurant. She just started crying in the booth, and I thought: Ahhh! Finally these people believe what I've been tellin' 'em for years and years!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  7. That does sound like a really good book, and I'll see if I can scout it down on Amazon this weekend. I got the (lack of) surfboard right off the bat, another fine job by the Beer Boy. And yes, Jesus has not only a sense of humor, but one for each of us. How else is He going to be able to deal with yutzes like us?

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    1. BROTHER MARTIN ~
      Right on! He meets each of us wherever we are, and He is THE Master of EVERYTHING, so He's just the Guy we need.

      There have been a couple times where He used inventive methods to get through to me, and the creativity of them just blew my mind.

      Once, I was in great distress about a New Age-ish spiritual program I'd been deeply involved in for 5 years. I started having serious doubts and prayed fervently to Jesus to guide me. He answered my prayer by sending me to a Catholic mass in Reno, Nevada, which was delivered entirely in Spanish. I was the ONLY gringo in the church, all by myself, and I don't understand Spanish. But... that's where He answered my prayer, and the creativity of it just blew me away - it was "off-the-charts". ONLY Jesus could have pulled off something like that!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  8. This post came out wonderfully. Great testimonials by FAE and Br’er Marc. I'm still not sure I'm sold on that Byron guy, though. At least he can draw decently...

    (Fun fact: whenever people butcher my name, they usually mangle it into Byron rather than the expected Brian)

    So I would say that this book was a true pleasure to read and really led me to the true Jesus, but I don't think I need to repeat myself. Instead, I just gotta axe... how'd you know my favorite color is red?

    ~6B

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    1. I remember once, long ago, when I didn't know you so well, I wrote your name in a Comment Section as "Brian". Later, when I saw the error of my way, I felt really bad about it. It seems you've gotten over it though, Byrian.

      >>... how'd you know my favorite color is red?

      Oh, sheesh, it weren't nuttin'. Don't go makin' me out to be some prophet or sumpin'. Ever'one knows that red is the favorite color of all you Commie-nists.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      POSTSCRIPT: Stop the presses! Today I actually found a fruit-flavored beer I genuinely enjoy. Can't believe I'm saying this but... I'll be buying more of this one.

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    2. What is the beer? I've been drinking a lot of the Shock Top beer lately--that means 1 or 2 bottles a week so a 12 pack lasts me a while. But I really like the Honeycrisp Apple and the Raspberry flavored beer. I'm no beer expert, but I like the Shock Top better than most beers I've bought, but I don't buy much.

      Lee
      An A to Z Co-Host
      Tossing It Out

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    3. I'm curious to know what this beer is, too. So spill it, McCarthy (the name, don't spill the actual beer)!

      Arlee, I like Shock Top too. Stephen, if you've never tried it, it's similar to Blue Moon. But between the two, I actually like Shock Top better.

      But don't take what I say too seriously. I'm just a damn dirty communist, after all. Can you blame me, though? I wouldn't say democracy's doing much for this country in present state...

      ~6 B Communist

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    4. LEE ~
      As I've joked with Beer Boy Bryan in the past, I only like "beer-flavored beer". I have tried various 'flavored' beers and never liked a-one of 'em. And the hoppy sorts of craft beers I like would probably send you running for the sink. (It's an acquired taste, and while there are some beers that are too hoppy - too distasteful - even for me, some of the beers that I would label as "too bland" you would probably think are overpowering and unpleasant. So, it's all relative.)

      I have had Shock Top (just the regular variety) and didn't care for it at all. To someone like me, Shock Top has "no There there".

      But yesterday I was out running errands and decided to stop in for a beer at a sports bar I'd often passed and was curious about.

      They didn't have much in the way of "Craft Beers" I really enjoy, so I took a chance on something new (to me). I ordered a glass of the Leinenkugel Brewery's 'SUMMER SHANDY' which they had on tap.

      It's a wheat-based beer with a pronounced lemon flavor added to it. It's almost like a Lemonade Beer, but without the sugary sweetness. It's also very light, in body and in alcohol content (which is only 4.20%), so I could literally drink that all day and never get drunk.

      I can easily imagine just how refreshing this beer would be after mowing the lawn on a hot Summer day (or after hiking the hills of Catalina Island). Also, there's a distinctive post-aftertaste wheat flavor that I really liked as well. So it's like refreshing lemon-beer at the start, and finishes with a nice wheat lingering flavor. Good stuffs (much to my great surprise!)

      I liked it so much that I even picked up a few of them on the way home. I would say that the bottled version has a slightly stronger lemon flavor to it than the tap version had, but I still like it and will drink it again.

      'Summer Shandy' is a seasonal, meaning you can only get it during the warmer months of the year.

      The same company also makes a 'LEMON BERRY SHANDY' version. I tried it, didn't like it; it just tasted like soda pop to me, but you might enjoy it since you seem to like the 'Shock Top' raspberry beer.

      If you ever want to try upping your game and getting a little bolder, try the Deschute's Brewing Co.'s 'MIRROR POND' Pale Ale. It sort of bridges the gap between the boring, mass-produced adjunct beers like Bud and Coors, and the true craft "hop bombs" like Odell and Lagunitas offerings.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    5. 6OMMUNIST ~

      Ha! I was "spilling it" at the same time you were yelling at me to "spill it". (See my reply to Lee above.)

      ~ Stephen D. Mocracy
      (or, D-FensDogg)

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    6. Let's face it--I'm strictly an amateur when it comes to beer. I don't know what wheat tastes like or anything about hoppy unless it has to do with Easter candy.

      A lemonade tasting beer? Hmm. Maybe I'd more prefer Corona with lemon and salt, but on a summer day a lemon-ade sort of beer might be good.

      I drink beer like I watch Netflix movies and maybe with less frequency.

      Lee
      A Faraway View
      An A to Z Co-host blog

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    7. Well, the good news is... unlike Beer Boy Bryan and STMcC, you ain't no Al K. Holic.

      However, the bad news is... Beeraholics have more fun.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  9. Got to go to work, but had to say you did an outstanding job reviewing this book.
    Brer marc

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  10. I thank you, my dear friend, BR'ER.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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